Have you ever experienced a disruption in your life? A moment in time where a thought, a word, or a new idea collided into your world and you just could not move forward in the same way? A re-evaluation moment. A moment to look at life in the face. A moment to pause, ponder and then shift.
I recently had this kind of disruption.
Not fearless but fear LESS. I was walking through the mall past Lorna Jane and screaming at me in the window was a mannequin in a “Fear LESS” outfit. It was amazing and honestly if I’d had the money in that moment (ha ha end of the month) I would have walked into that shop, bought it and worn it all day. I still might. Somehow the idea of wearing a message that consumes our hearts is powerful to me. (I digress). Anyway the idea of fearing LESS vs fearless has completely flipped my world upside down. And so here are my thoughts.
A few nights ago, my husband and I were talking through some things that we were experiencing relationally, (so politely put isn’t it ha) and he kindly helped me realize that I was not myself. Most often I brush off my craziness and try to pretend its not happening, but in this moment I let out my fragile honesty and my heart spoke out my most secret of fears. It’s hard sharing our messy parts, isn’t it. Vulnerability has somehow become trendy, but yet, there is still this guarding of our most intimate thoughts and pain that we have got so good at. I find that true vulnerability, shared with honesty and without an agenda produces immense freedom. Vulnerability without the motivation to manipulate is powerful. But we don’t know how to do this well. With authenticity. We could all get better at this. (I know I can). Sharing our true hearts. Not with Facebook (seriously please not with all of Facebook) but with the trusted people in our lives. The ones who will listen and call out of us something greater than we believe is possible.
My true vulnerability that night caused me to express my fear. And it’s got me to thinking, I’m not the only person on this planet being pinned to the wall by “what if?” and “how come?”. I’m not the only girl who has displayed anxiety. I’m not the only one booking endless chiro, physio and massage appointments to try and deal with the tension in my neck and shoulders. (the struggle!!)
I’m not the only one who has stress issues related to fear. From fear of failure, to rejection, security and health there is so much that could go wrong. REALLY! We have much reason to fear but I know that there is a greater call for me (and for you) to NOT LIVE AFRAID. Not because that is what good and brave people do (especially Christians), but rather because God has immeasurably more freedom for us than we could ever even dream of. I believe this with everything.
It feels like there are fearful people all around me. (I’m not judging just observing) But I find comfort knowing that I am not the only one.
I find it hard not to “feel” afraid. When I hear of horrific things that people are experiencing. When I experience first hand what it feels like to think you may lose someone closest to you, like a child. It can be quite all consuming.
I don’t know everything about fear psychologically, but what I do know is that it is a dirty liar. An unwanted guest in our hearts. Arriving unannounced in our weakest of moments, it slips in when we’re most vulnerable and when we won’t be able to fully recognize it. Once it takes residence in the home of our hearts it starts to bully it’s way around so that it will become the loudest voice in our lives. It’s relentless in the fight and will hold you down in a helpless position, grabbing you by throat until you’re gasping for air. (Graphic, I know but hopefully you get the picture). Fear causes us to run from help and isolate ourselves. Or it can make us needy and parasitic. It keeps us stationary in the land of “what if” and makes us think that the future is hopeless. Fear is ruthless and focused. Selfish and destructive. And often we don’t even realise that this is what is causing us stress. It’s something the devil uses to steal, kill and destroy everyday. EVERYDAY. Crippling us into places of fatigue, depression and despair. More than ever I am determined not to become enslaved to fear. Not in my thinking. Not in my marriage. Not in my parenting. Not in my friendships. Not in my gifting.
I don’t have the answers of how to get rid of fear in our hearts but I am on a journey of kicking it to the curb for good. (I hope.) It’s going to take more than just a psych up speech or song to eradicate fear in our lives. A once off “Not today devil” penned under my shoe is not going to give my heart the truth it needs to renew my thinking towards the good and not the bad. That night when I shared with Dylan my fear, he said something that revolutionised my approach. “LEAN INTO LOVE”. Your fears cannot withstand perfect love. It’s love, infinite and unfailing, that casts out all fear. (1 John 4:18) So lean into love. Instead of hiding and trying to build defences around your heart, hoping that fear won’t find you, allow yourself to be loved. Choose it. See it. Receive it. Believe it.” (Emphasis mine)
And so my journey towards winning this battle against fear itself is to face it. To think about what is the worst that could happen? (This is hard) To acknowledge that I may feel afraid about my future. My health. Dying? (What!) My fears are real. They may not be rational but they are real. And so I don’t pretend that I am not feeling fearful but rather I look fear straight in the eyes. And then I LEAN INTO LOVE. (Which is easier said than done right?)
What on earth does that even mean or look like?
Leaning into love for me looks like hugging more. (Ha and I am so not a hugger)
It is the daily pursuit of physical affection from those closest. It’s the looking for kind eyes and hand squeezes from dear friends.
It’s the pursuit of relationship. The reaching out.
Leaning into love looks like being kinder to myself. (I’m so not there yet!)
It looks like receiving life’s daily blessings.
It often looks like me in the car talking to God about the things that are clouding my mind. About the horrific stories I may see or hear, whether close or far around the world.
It looks like weeping in the car park at the thought of losing a dear friend.
It looks like messaging my husband and asking him to help me see truth.
It looks like listening to heaven sent melodies that remind me of God’s goodness and mercy.
It looks like receiving a compliment.
It looks like verbally saying out loud my greatest fears and allowing the Holy Spirit to calm my soul.
It looks like filling my mind with meditations about how truly LOVED I am, even when I don’t feel it.
I don’t have the 10 step formula to being fearless but I am confident in the power of acknowledging our fear and then leaning into love. Choosing day by day to fear LESS.
What does “FEAR less” look like for you? Because it is worth the fight to get rid of this sneaky imposter. Seriously if my neck and shoulders are anything to go by, its time to put fear to bed, once and for all.